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Fri Sep 20, 2019, 02:52 AM

To Better Understand The Arctic, This Ship Will Spend A Year Frozen Into The Ice

September 20, 201912:32 AM ET

The German icebreaker Polarstern sits in Breivika harbor in Tromso, Norway, on Tuesday. If all goes according to plan, it will spend the next year frozen into the Arctic sea ice.
Ravenna Koenig/NPR

The mission is known as the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate, or MOSAiC. Its overarching goal is to collect a vast trove of data that can help improve how the Arctic is represented in climate models.

To do that, a group of scientists will try to freeze an icebreaker into the ice for an entire year.

On a recent day in Tromso, Norway, around 200 people are cycling through the German icebreaker Polarstern as it sits docked in Breivika harbor. They're moving massive amounts of equipment on board, unpacking instruments and starting to install and test them.

A row of snowmobiles sits on the concrete down below, ready for loading. A massive orange crane is lifting shipping containers, some of which will even be used as lab space, and placing them on the boat.


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